Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beer and Cupcakes in the Rain

SO! The last few weeks have been insane! The Toronto Session Craft Beer Festival was this past weekend and it was The Sassy Lamb's first time participating in a festival. The lead up to all this was pretty intense. Besides the literal THOUSANDS of cupcakes I had to bake, there was also icing, equipment, signage, staff, uniforms, transportation, the list goes on. But I somehow managed to get it all together with the help of SO many people. So first off, thank you all so much, my friends, family, the Griffin staff. You all supported me in big and little ways and I love you all for it!

Not only did I have the festival on Saturday, but I also had a friend's wedding on Friday night. So i found myself on a beach in Elmvale many miles from Toronto (on the G20 weekend) the night before one of the biggest nights in my career so when I did get home, I stayed up into the wee hours putting the final touches on the uniforms I had designed for my staff. And I have to toot my own horn a little, because my girls looked so darn cute! Here we are after setting up in the rain (grrrr). Nevertheless, spirits were high, how could they not be with Julia and Susie by my side!

We had 3 special cuppies on the menu at the beer festival and they were all paired with different beer. Blondes, Porters, Wheats, Nut Browns, Auburn Ales....mmmmmm.

Whoa, getting off track. So here's the menu! I think the beer cakes were the biggest hit, no surprise, it was a beer festival after all. But the other 2 got pretty good attention too, particularly the vegan one. I swear, if crack didn't exist, there would be people doing tricks in the street for peanut butter sandwiches. No matter the audience I just can't go wrong with peanut butter icing.

Oh also, thanks to Mill Street for supplying the beer for the beer cakes! I am a Mill St. Superfan!

We sort of turned into weird cupcake voyeurs throughout the course of the festival. We just loved watching people have that first taste of each of the cupcakes. And it was great to watch them come back for seconds and thirds and even 7ths! Here's a shot of my best customers.

Unfortunately, the attendance was a bit lower then expected due to the rain and the lighting on fire of Yonge street and all so I have JUST a FEW cupcakes stored up in my freezer :)

But such a fun time and I can't wait until August to do it all over again at the Muskoka Beer Festival. Get your tickets!!!

Few more photos from the event are here.

Till next time!

PS - my next entry might be x-rated (that's what he said), so if you're easily offended, you might want to skip over the next blog.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Angels, Devils and Asses

I just came back from an impromptu family reunion at my mom's beautiful new house in Sunny Sundridge. The whole visit sprouted from the rumour that my cousin Shaun would be visiting from England and suddenly my Aunt Dawn was travelling from Huntsville, my cousin Kristi came from Sudbury with sweet little Hannah, Poppa popped over more then once and AJ and Uncle Mur came too! Ironically, we never heard a peep from Shaun! But what a super visit with everyone else. The weather didn't cooperate, but that made plenty of time for baking with mom's new Kitchenaid stand up mixer...even the shnauzers wanted a taste of these puppies...i mean cuppies ;)

And speaking of puppies, we had a lot of good old Schnauzer cuddle pile ups this weekend. Ever feel sad? Cuddle a shnauzer. You will be cured of all sadness.

There was also lots of time for Hannah my cousin's daughter who I adore. We took a trip out to Uncle Mur's farm to see the lambs. Hannah was sure we could catch them if we "hurry auntie jaime, hurry!" So we ran through the field chasing a herd of lambs hand in hand. Pure joy. We never caught a lamb but I did scam some raw, freshly sheared (and very stinky) wool that I am going to wash, card? spin and eventually knit up just like Hannah's Great Nanny used to do.

We also got a visit in with Jack (or Jacque according to Hannah) the resident Donkey. For the first time ever, I heard a donkey HEEHAW and it was horridly hilarious. Here's Jacque looking like an ass.

And here's Hannah looking as sweet as ever. How can one girl look so angelic and like such a little devil. These photos were taken only a split second apart. We all have an angel and a devil inside us...such is "the sassy lamb".

And on a business note, I dropped off this striped little number for Kristi's sister in law, Sharon. Her little man Logan is going to be "as snug as a bug in a rug" as my grandma used to say.

And now, after much fun in the lack of sun, it is time for me to get back to work!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Love...not just for brides and grooms

So my good friend Sheila called me this week for gift ideas for her friend Lisa who is getting married this Summer. Sheila is Lisa's maid of honour which has been hard on Sheila since she's in Halifax this year going to school. Sheila's missing a lot of events around Lisa's wedding, namely this bridal shower. So we brainstormed some whacky ideas like a singing cowboy or a stripping telegram but with time NOT on our side we decided I would whip up a batch of cupcake pops with a bridal theme.

I researched it for a while and came up with these darling little dears. These grooms are so cute, I just want to marry them!! I know, lame joke. But I am queen of lame jokes and corny puns! Take me or leave me!

The delivery of these happy little couples was fun. I rented a zipcar and zipped out to Pickering. And zip I did!! I got a silver Toyota Matrix and boy was it quick! I was deeking in and out all over the place, gave a few slow pokes the iron fist and cranked up some MJ, that is until I reached the DVP and was forced to a halt. Is it just me or was that highway very badly planned? Anywho, it didn't dampen my spirits and the newlyweds made it to their destination in good order. I just hope the bride-to-be opened them quick and didn't leave the poor buggers in the sun. And I hope somebody makes good use of the coupons I left inside!

So, anyway! This all leads me to conclude that it's hard to away from the ones you love. I miss my little Sheilsy...my half midget kitten as I like to call her...that's a long story.... And I miss my Britty. She's moved even further east to Korea to be with her lover and it's separated our little pack of chiquititas which leaves a little hole in my heart. I even miss Jenn who lives only 10 minutes east of my house but has been working her hot little ass off to write the LSAT on Monday. I know there are 4 million other girls out there that compare themselves to the Sex and the City foursome....well dammit! Count us as 4 million and four!

And remember, you don't need a cute little groom to be in love!

Big said it best: "You're the loves of her life, and a guy would be lucky to come in fourth."

Here's a pic of the four of us modeling our bags that our dear friend Alison made for us. We'll all be together again soon ladies!! xo xo xo xo - a hug and a kiss for each of you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whoa, that's a lot of cupcakes!

In three weeks I will hopefully have baked 3,000 mini cupcakes (WHAT??) for the first annual Toronto Craft Beer Festival. The event is being held at Sunnyside Pavilion on the west end of the lakeshore and there will be 22 craft breweries in attendance. It's being hosted by a great little pub in my hometown of Bracebridge (Muskoka for all those tourists) called The Griffin Gastropub.

The Sassy Lamb will be the only dessert vendor at the festival so I'm preparing 3 different cupcakes. The first will be the cupcake I entered in the Iron Cupcake competition in March that's made with Mill St. Brewery's Coffee Porter. And Mill St. has offered to donate the beer!! Thank you, thank you thank you!!

Here is a photo from the Iron Cupcake to jog your memory...

The second will be a gluten free vanilla cupcake with a possible cream cheese icing...still deciding on that. And they will look something like this...but unlikely I will be able to afford a whiskey soaked cherry to top each one :(

And the third will be a chocolate vegan cupcake which I hope to top with the crowd favourite, peanut butter icing. They will look something like this.

I'm really excited about being at this event. I also have regular mini-heart attacks to accompany my mini cupcakes when I think of the sheer volume of ingredients, space and sanity that I'm going to need to pull the whole thing off. Thank god my two great friends, Julia and Susie, have volunteered their day to help me sell cupcakes. I think it's gonna be a super fun day.

And of course, we'll be needing some cute and sassy uniforms for the occasion! I picked up some fabric the other day on Queen West and my mind is swirling with designs for our aprons. These colours are perfect! They are a perfect mix of my website and my twitter site! Mmmmm, branding...feels almost as good as a cupcake in your tummy.

And it's gonna be a hot sunny day, fingers crossed, so we'll also be needing to protect our little noggins. No, they won't be knit, You'll just have to come to the festival to see us all decked out sassy lamb style!

So if you love beer, live music, sun and cupcakes, then get yourself to Toronto on June 26th. You can buy tickets here. Heck, you better buy one for 10 of your closest friends while you're at it!

Hope to see you there!!